Dir: Agnieszka Holland, UK, 2019, 116 mins, English & welsh dialogue
James Norton, Vanessa Kirby, Peter Sarsgaard
A compelling period biopic set in 1933 honouring Welsh journalist Gareth Jones, who exposed the Holodomor, a famine caused by Stalin’s agricultural policies in which up to 10 million people died, only to be broadly discredited by his professional peers and murdered before his 30th birthday. A poignant and necessary story that reminds us of the danger of ‘fake news’ and its devastating consequences.
Dir: Robert Eggers, US, 2019, 109 mins
Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson, Valeriia Karaman
Two 19th century lighthouse keepers, stationed on a remote, storm-blasted New England island, fight the elements, the spirits and each other in this turbulent psychological thriller. Ephraim Winslow has taken a four-week post as an assistant to Tom Wake, a grizzled man who runs his lighthouse with a mix of brutal authoritarianism and drunken camaraderie. Tensions soon arises when Winslow is given a list of grunt tasks, none of which includes tending the light itself.
Dir: Benedict Andrews, US, 2019, 102 mins
Kristen Stewart, Margaret Qualley, Zazie Beetz
Inspired by true events about the French New Wave darling and Breathless star Jean Seberg, who in the late 60s was targeted by the FBI because of her support for the civil rights movement and found her life and career destroyed in an effort to suppress and discredit her activism. The luminous Kristen Stewart keeps you glued throughout, giving a coolly compelling performance that becomes steadily more poignant.
Dir: Bong Joon-ho, Korea, 2019, 132 mins, Korean dialogue with subtitles
Kang-ho Song, Sun-kyun Lee, Yeo-jeong Jo
Hailed as a masterpiece by critics and audiences worldwide, this multiple Oscar & BAFTA winner is a blackly comic satirical thriller following a poverty-stricken family who live a hand-to-mouth existence until their path crosses that of a wealthy family. They slowly start to infiltrate every aspect of the rich family’s life, until an interloper threatens their newfound comfort and a battle of class warfare breaks out. Full of energy, verve and visual wit, Parasite manages to be a highly enjoyable watch whilst exposing the immorality of contemporary capitalism. A masterful, unforgettable creation; brilliantly designed, performed and shot.
Dir: Terry Gilliam, Sp/Fr/UK, 2018, 133 mins
Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Joana Ribeiro
Adam Driver plays Toby, a jaded director who has lost his creative mojo whilst filming a feature film about Don Quixote in Spain. He is given a new life when the 'real' Don Quixote, a delusional cobbler, believes him to be his long lost squire Sancho Panza. Together they will embark into increasingly surreal adventures, which will force Toby to confront the tragic repercussions of a film he made there in his idealistic youth. Stuck for years in development limbo, Terry Gilliam's passion project finally makes it to the big screen - and the result is magic and glorious.
Dir: Autumn de Wilde, UK, 2020, 125 mins
Anya Taylor-Joy, Josh O'Connor, Tanya Reynolds
Based on the novel by Jane Austen, this is a sumptuous period romantic comedy-drama set in Georgian England concerning the frolics of a young woman, Emma Woodhouse, who occupies herself with matchmaking in the lives of her friends and family. A delightful comedy about the perils of misconstrued romance, finding your equal and earning your happy ending.
Dir: Takashi Miike, Jap, 2019, 108 mins, Japanese dialogue with subtitles
Becky, Sakurako Konishi, Masataka Kubota
Japanese horror maestro Takashi Miike is back with this riotous rom-com in which a promising young boxer, left adrift after receiving a distressing diagnosis, and a sex worker become tangled in a drug war between two ferocious gangs over the course of one night. Seeing a faint glimmer of hope on the horizon and the vague possibility of a future, they both look out for each other in order to see the dawn.
A visceral yet empathetic new take on the life of legendary 19th Century outlaw Ned Kelly, adapted from Peter Carey's Booker Prize-winning novel. A thrilling drama that does full justice to the book's rugged poetic language and rich biographical details, as it follows the legendary bushranger and his gang as they attempt to evade authorities. From a rough upbringing to an untimely death, this is the story of a boy waging a losing battle for his own soul against destiny, social status, bad influences and family expectation.
Dir: Jon Kasbe, US, 2018, 76 mins
This riveting documentary, that comes across more like a high-end thriller, tracks two men, who also happen to be cousins, working on the flip side of the controversial ivory trade in rural Kenya. Filmed over three years, it follows the lives and tribulations of a cocky poacher and a more pensive ranger. Away from the hunt, the cousins live in markedly similar poverty, mutual victims of an economy that offers no incentive to do the right thing. A thought-provoking look into a social and environmental crisis in which man is both victor and victim.
Dir: Lucio Castro, Sp, 2019, 82 mins, Spanish dialogue with subtitles
Juan Barberini, Ramon Pujol, Mía Maestro
On vacation in Barcelona, Ocho, an Argentinian poet from New York, crosses paths with Javi, a director of children's television from Berlin. The attraction is immediate and the two strangers engage in a passionate holiday fling. After Javi confirms Ocho's nagging suspicion that they have met once before, a series of flashbacks beautifully challenges everything we thought we knew about the two men. A captivating drama considering the lifelong resonance of an erotically charged yet fleeting encounter and the selective nature, and ultimate fallibility of memory.
Dir: Federico Fellini, It, 1965, 132 mins, Italian dialogue with subtitles
Giulietta Masina, Mario Pisu, Sandra Milo
To continue with the celebrations of the 100 years since Federico Fellini's birth, we bring to the IFT's big-screen his re-mastered first feature film in colour. A fascinating drama that sees the director reunited with his actor wife Giulietta Masina (La Strada, Nights of Cabiria) who plays a middle-class housewife seeking solace in the world of psychics and seers, after discovering that her husband is having an affair.
Dir: Jessica Hauser, UK, 2019, 105 mins
Emily Beecham, Ben Whishaw, Kerry Fox
Striking psychological sci-fi drama about a single mother and dedicated horticulturalist who genetically engineers a plant whose flower can alter emotions and make its owner happy. When, against regulations, she removes one of the plants from the lab to give it to her son, concerns grow that the plant may influence the minds of those who get too close to it. A cautionary tale about genetic engineering gone mad and the dangers of searching for artificial happiness.
Dir: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, US, 2019, 120 mins
Toni Morrison, Walter Mosley, Oprah Winfrey
An inspiring and intimate documentary about beloved American storyteller Toni Morrison, that examines her life and work, from her remarkable rise in the American suburbs to becoming a global phenomenon as a rebel and political activist, both on the page and in the flesh. With contributions from critics, academics and colleagues this is a reminder that the struggle for equality on all footings – for black women in particular, but life itself in general – is worth every hard-won drop of sweat, be it on the page, the screen, or the streets.
Dir: Céline Sciamma, Fr, 2019, 119 mins, French dialogue with subtitles
Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel, Luàna Bajrami
Grieving for the death of her sister, Héloise has returned from a convent to her home in Brittany, where her mother has commissioned Marianne, an artist, to secretly paint her portrait while pretending to be her mourning companion. Previous painters have failed in the task as Héloise has refused to pose, aware that the picture will be sent to a man to whom she has been arranged to marry against her wishes. The two women gradually connect, and a subtle seduction of stolen glances, touches and conversation gives way to burning desire. A delicate, beautifully acted period drama that explores what it means to see and to truly be seen.
Dir: Alla Kovgan, Ger/Fr/US, 2019, 93 mins
Carolyn Brown, John Cage, Ashley Chen
An inspiring documentary profiling the life and work of dancer Merce Cunningham, following his artistic evolution over the first 30 years of his career (1942 to 1972) and re-staging excerpts from 14 select dances by members of his dance company. Switching from outdoors to indoors, from rooftops to a tunnel and studio spaces, this is a breath-taking explosion of dance, music, and never-before-seen archival material. A timely tribute to one of the world's greatest modern dance artists.
Dir: Peter Cattaneo, UK, 2019, 113 mins
Kristin Scott Thomas, Jason Flemyng, Sharon Horgan
Based on real events, this is a moving story of love and friendship, focusing on a group of wives who find solace in a choir while their partners are away in Afghanistan. When Kate, the wife of a high-ranking officer, decides to join the Social Committee she immediately butts heads with the long-standing chair, Lisa. Agreeing to start a choir but opposites in every way, the two women must learn to navigate their vastly different styles in time for a televised performance.
Dir: Luke Lorentzen, Mexico, 2019, 79 mins, Spanish dialogue with subtitles
In Mexico City, a place with nine million inhabitants but only 45 government-operated ambulances, the Ochoa family scramble to survive by running a private EMS service, competing with others for patients in need of urgent help. Their business is run by the seemingly depressed father, but the real boss is his 17-year old son Juan, who usually takes the lead in treating patients, dealing with finances and arguing with cops who hassle them in hopes of getting a bribe. A powerful documentary that explores urgent questions around healthcare and the complexity of personal responsibility.
Dir: David Lynch, UK, 1980, 118 mins
Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft
David Lynch 1980's award-winning vision of alienation is looking at its best in a new restoration re-released into the full glory of cinema screens to mark its 40th anniversary. This historical drama, which launched Lynch from the avant-garde fringes into the mainstream, follows the life of Joseph Merrick, a gentle-hearted man with a severe physical deformity who is saved from a freak show to be finally treated like the human he is.